Overwhelming TBR List! (updated August 1, 2016)

You know how your eyes can be be bigger than your stomach? I get like that with books. I have so many on my to-be-read list that I’ve been feeling overwhelmed, not sure where to start. And there’s a difference between my list of TBR on Goodreads, which includes books I don’t yet have in my possession, and the ones I have available to me now. So I’m going to list them alphabetically (by title), and by location, and make a start…

On my Kindle (app):

Aftereffects: Zombie Therapy (From the Case Files of Dr. Victor Frenzel, Zombie Psychiatrist), by Zane Bradey – DONE!
And That’s Why I’m Single, by Josh Stern – DONE!
The Aristotelian, by Steve Poling – DONE!
As the Witch Turns (An All About Women Short Story), by Anne M. Cinarpenter – DONE!
Audrey’s Guide for Witchcraft, by Jody Gehrsan – DONE!
Beltane: Ten Tales of Witchcraft, edited by Rayne Hall – DONE!
Caledonii: Birth of a Celtic Nation, by Ian Hall DONE!
Cinderella’s Secret Diary: Lost (Book 1), by Ron Vitale DONE!
Crow’s Hill: The Dark Seeds, by L. M. Fields
Curious Hearts, with James M. Cricket, Walt Trizna, T.D. Jones, Jane Carver, Ellen Margret, Nell Duvall, and Jenny Twist
Dark Inside, by Donna Galanti
Dead Rich, by T. H. Rahman
Eleven Town, by John-Paul Cleary
The Eleventh Universe, by Jim Fostino
Entanglement, by Dan Rix
Faeries Forever, by Ellen Margret
The Girl from Yesterday, by David L. Dawson
Globular Van der Graff’s Goblin Tales for Adults, by Jack Eason
Hearts in Exile, by Mysti Parker DONE!
Hellbound, by Su Halfwerk
I am GooGol, by Bobby Nash and Rodrigo de Castro — DONE!
Journey to Rome, by L.K. Killian
Labyrinthine, by Ruby
Life in Mental Chains: My terrifying journey with OCD, by Ruth J. Hartman
Lightpoints, by Peter Kassan – DONE!
The Last Mailman: Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Zombies, by Kevin J. Burke
Level Zero, by Jaron Lee Knuth
Lonely Moon, by Andrew Saxsma
Mercy, by Jay R.
Midnight’s Jewel, by J. Annas Walker
My Only One, by Gregory M. Thompson
The Noble Fool (Vol. 1 of The Hungering Saga), by Heath Pfaff

The Owl Goddess, by Jenny Twist — DONE!
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, by Paulette Mahurin
Plague Nation, by Dana Fredsti – DONE!
The Prelude (The Musical Interlude #1), by KaSonndra Leigh – DONE!
The Rebel Trilogy by F. H. Prohor – DONE!
Rescued by a Duke, by Ruth J. Hartman – DONE!
Risking Everything: Coming Out in Coffee Land, by Elizabeth Worley
The Seventh Age, by Jack Eason
The Sovereign Order of Monte Cristo: And the Newly Discovered Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, by Holy Ghost Writer
Take One at Bedtime, by Jenny Twist –in progress
Taxicab Stands of Kirkland Lake, by Scott Hough – in progress
Through the Door, by Jodi McIsaac – DONE!

TransShifter, by Cindy Borgne
The Twelve Dancing Zombie-Killing Princesses, by Cate Masters
The Vampire Bible, by William Meikle
When Women Were Warriors (Book 1: The Warrior’s Path), by Catherine M. Wilson
Witches Bureau of Investigation, by Richard Capwell
Witch Eyes, by Scott Tracey

On my Kobo:*

Clockwise, by Elle Strauss –
Llewellyn’s 2013 Magical Almanac: Practical Magic for Everyday Living
The Thirteenth Unicorn, by W. D. Newman
The Witching Pen (Book One of The Witching Pen Novellas), by Dianna Hardy

*Not counting 57 PREVIEWS!

Print Copies*:

Assholes: A Theoryin progress

Alice Hearts Welsh Zombies, by Victoria Dunne — DONE!

Be Blessed: Daily Devotions for Busy Wiccans and Pagans, by Denise Dumars
Coffee in the Morning, by Roz Denny Fox

Etiquette & Espionage, by Gail Garriger — DONE!
Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters: Heroines in Folktales From Around the World by Kathleen Ragan
The Girlfriend Curse, by Valerie Frankel
Hannah: Daughters of the Sea, by Kathryn Lasky – DONE!
The King’s Daughter, by Barbara Kyle
A Human Element, by Donna Galanti – DONE!
Much Ado About Marriage, by Karen Hawkins
Need, by Carrie Jones
Super-parenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach for Raising Your Distracted Child, by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and Peter S. Jensen, M.D.

A Time for Everything, by Mysti Parker – DONE!
UFOs: Myths, Conspiracies, and Realities by John B. Alexander, Ph.D.
A Vintage Affair, by Isabel Wolff

The Way We Fall, by Megan Crewe — DONE!
A Witch’s 10 Commandments: Magickal Guidelines for Everyday Life, by Marian Singer – in progress

*I’ve accumulated more print copies of books since I first compiled this list, of course, so I’ll add them as I read them. 😀

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I’ll post reviews on Goodreads, etc. as I complete them, of course. And if anyone has read these as well, please comment below — I’d love to know what you thought of them!

The question bothering me now is — how long will it take me to read all of these fabulous writings? Hmmm…

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What Makes Me Write

So, I didn’t blog once a week as I’d planned to do over the last year.

And I haven’t completed my next novel — yet.

Still, I’m here. I’ve started innumerable blog posts in my head, but never got around to typing them out. Gotta smarten up about that.

The last several months have seen momentum, though. I’ve had my novella, Rip Gone Wrong, go through editing and once I complete the notes and have it proofread, I’ll either shop for a publisher or go for self-publishing.The family trip to FanExpo was amazing, and we were right into the school year immediately following that, which meant getting into another haunted house fundraising event. As soon as the event was over, I dove into National Novel Writing Month and got a draft underway for the experimental writing project started in the summer of 2015. Reaaaallly hoping that it doesn’t take me another seven years to finish the damned manuscript, this time. So I’ve been trying to boost my motivation by indulging in some of the stories that inspire me, such as Castle (my darling spouse gave me the final three seasons for Christmas), and my favourite films from the Marvel Universe.

Like Captain America: Civil War — I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen this, and I’m watching it because I am always so intrigued by the Bucky storyline. Something about a person’s mind being no longer their own — fighting against programming to regain control, and the struggle that goes along with even recognizing that the control was even put in place, I am very interested in all of these things. It’s very Manchurian Candidate. The psychology of Bucky Barnes is a fascinating thing to me. I should start collecting all comic book issues that have to do with his journey, following what he went through in war, before and after being captured by the Nazis and turned into the Winter Soldier, and his gradual resurfacing. We all change and grow over time, but for Bucky Barnes, the choice of how and when he was changing (and for what purpose) was taken from him, as it is for so many in areas of conflict. The actions he took and crimes he committed still live in his memory, a reality he has no choice in living with. He exists in a permanent state of grey, eventually fighting toward the lighter side in his actions and choices (e.g., not killing the armed men sent to kill him).

I am fascinated by grey. Rayvin, the protagonist in The Talbot Trilogy, exists in some grey, as well. She’s forced into cohabitation with a terrible supernatural being and recognizes the awfulness of her situation, but some part of her also enjoys it, I think. And she hates that she enjoys it, because she knows it’s wrong for her to have the small moments of joy that de Sade gives her. It’s not just the sex, though that’s a big part of it — I think that she, like many people, feels a degree of comfort or security on some level, at least for a little while, when the boundaries are clearly demarcated, even if they’re against her will. If someone else is calling the shots and you have no choice in your responses, there’s a moral relief somewhere in there. Rayvin could honestly say, “It wasn’t my fault.” And then she could choose to dive deeper into the morass, submitting wholly to the power being wielded over her, or fight back with full knowledge of the awful consequences that would come next: physical pain, emotional torment, and death — hers, and that of others.

Bucky Barnes makes me think of Anakin Skywalker, too, and his transformation or slip into Darth Vader. That moment when he chooses to stop fighting against being selfish and allow corruption to fuel, guide, or inform his actions, it’s so recognizable. But the difference between Bucky and Anakin is that the former is overtly brainwashed, while the young Darth Vader is fully aware of what he should and should not be doing, yet chooses the dark path. And his reasons for doing so are complicated. It’s a very human condition to want to give in to the easiest way, take the road that’s of most benefit to the self, and once you’re there, maybe it’s a point of pride or saving face to refuse to admit that the choice was wrong. Bucky, at least, can say that he didn’t choose corruption, but it is no less uncomfortable to be him.

Moral ambiguity, corruption, power and selfishness — these are themes that have been repeating in the media for months. Maybe mind control could be added to them, when we consider how much choices of media are said to influence people’s perspectives and values. Where there are two opposing views, and each side proclaims the other to be wrong, declaring that the evidence is overly biased / false / doctored / exaggerated, it gets hard to know what’s real anymore.

This is what makes me write. What makes me want to write. Every story has a degree of truth, an exploration of humanity. I want to know what is inside Bucky Barnes and how he gains the strength to fight his conditioning, cope with his memories, and move forward trying to do positive things. How did it feel for Anakin Skywalker, when he gave into the fear and despair and turned against all of his training, knowing what the choice would do to him? How much is what we tell ourselves truth, and how much do we fool ourselves to keep from hurting (ourselves / others) and dealing with the consequences of poor choices coming to light?

 

A new website is born!

I decided to get to work on a task long overdue: put all of my Talbot Trilogy content together into one awesome online location! It’s a work in progress, at the moment, but for buy links, excerpts, playlists, and book trailer(s) [currently only one of the latter exists but more are in the making!], I think it’s going to be useful to have everything connected in www.thetalbottrilogy.com.

Check it out and leave your feedback in the comments below!

Book Review: The Owl Goddess, by Jenny Twist

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I am massively overdue on this review of this fantastic novel, Jenny Twist’s opus, and so please accept my apologies for the tardiness of this post.

I had the extreme pleasure of acting as a beta reader for this work, and I loved every part of it. Twist has combined fascinating storytelling and historical research in an original, beautiful mix; she has captured the voice of her adolescent protagonist Athena with deft precision, making the girl-becoming-woman utterly relatable both to adults and young readers, and leads us through her characters’ discoveries and coming-of-age moments with compassion and thoughtfulness of detail.

I thoroughly enjoyed the premise of the novel, in which the crew and passengers of the Atlantis, an interplanetary vessel of advanced technology, must evacuate and land on an unexplored, primitive world when their engine malfunctions. To their surprise, the world is inhabited by beings whose appearance mirrors their own in many ways, though distinctly lacking in complex technology. Twist weaves a tale of future history in The Owl Goddess, blending the myths of Mount Olympus and its inhabitants with speculative science fiction in a manner that would do the writers of Doctor Who or Star Trek proud. And there is more than science in this fiction — Twist also involves more than a little magic, evoking a terrestrial and spiritual voice in the figure of a goddess whose beneficence is not wholly clear.

I think about this story, and I wonder — can you ever really trust a goddess? Athena is taken for granted as greater-than-human by her friend Prometheus and his community, despite her reassurances that she is nothing more than flesh and blood, while the motivations of the Mother spirit who watches over that community are only ever apparent to the entity herself. Goddesses are mysteries to those who encounter them, and so they must be, in order to remain separate and above, but it’s not always of benefit to their worshippers. Athena has her innocence to save her from criticism, fortunately.

The Owl Goddess will lead interested readers to fitting character studies and encourage further reading of Greek myths and fables. I also found myself more drawn to articles on developing technologies after finishing the novel, because the world Athena comes from had turned to lab-grown meat and firm social rules about residences and breeding to deal with overpopulation. These are issues and experiments being carried out right now, and again, Twist has paid attention and done her research.

In conclusion, Jenny Twist’s most recent work, The Owl Goddess, is absolutely stunning in its breadth and scope. I found it a quick read, reminiscent in ways of Clan of the Cave Bear but not nearly as ponderous. I would dearly love to see it illustrated as a graphic novel.

Buy Link:  Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk

 

Vote for me! New writing contest + Rip Gone Wrong

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Interesting how once my goal of writing a blog post every day was over, I end up neglecting the blog completely for months . . . But it’s not for lack of things being done! I’ve coordinated the second annual 24 Hour Playwriting Challenge, directed and produced a short play for a theatre festival (complete with field trip), put together my first ever author booth at the Northern Ontario Expo, and organized 47 students, two children, and four other adults for the field trip to Ottawa ComicCon a few weeks ago (cosplay included). And now I’m into rehearsals and memorizing lines for my role of the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, this year’s Shakespeare in the Park performance. Plus frequent workouts in my goal to get fit and be able to do a chin-up before I’m forty. Happy to report that I’m now in the best shape of my life!

But in the middle of all of this, I have missed writing. And I haven’t submitted anything new.

So I decided to take a leap and accept a twitter-sent invitation to submit a story for a writing contest on Inkitt. I’d love it if you’d click the link, read Rip Gone Wrong, the YA action/adventure/thriller that I wrote for my reluctant readers last spring during Camp NaNoWriMo, and cast your vote for my story.

And leave me some feedback, please, here or on the site! Constructive comments are welcome and appreciated.

Help me win ’s novel contest – please read my story and cast your vote today!

Mist and Midnight now in PAPERBACK!

I’m so pleased to announce that my first published work, the short novel Mist and Midnight (prequel to the Talbot Trilogy) is now available in print!

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Complete your bookshelf set of the Talbot Trilogy today!

 

Loving the results! 8 weeks into personal training . . .

I am so happy, I wanted to share with you the positives and general fabulousness of this moment.

I am stronger, in more ways than one. I feel terrific. I’m starting to fit back into clothes I’d given up on ever wearing again, and I’m going to spend some of my spring break taking in the pieces I bought this past fall.

I mean, look at the difference:

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Another weigh-in this Saturday, and measurement, and then I think I will sign up for another session with my trainer. I have momentum and I want to keep going. I think this might be the healthiest I’ve been in a really long time.

But you know, part of the struggle in this has been with avoiding feelings of selfishness. I’ve redirected funds that realistically ought to have gone into the student loans I’m still paying off. Or into something for the house, or the car. Or the kids. So many different things that need doing. However, I realized partway through this that as much as I have to meet those obligations (and I am, slower than I originally planned), by going to the gym and getting a trainer, I’m investing in me. In my future. I spent most of my pre-teens and teen years and a lot of my twenties and thirties being a couch potato. That sedentary lifestyle is going to bite me in my formerly spreading arse in another five to ten years if I don’t make up for it now. So that’s what I’m doing. And yes, I know I’ve posted about this before, made efforts to get healthier and more active, done Weight Watchers, etc. I’ve learned that healthy means maintenance. I’ve also learned that it gets easier as the kids get older and more capable of looking after themselves.

And I’ve discovered that I really love going to the gym. Me, the kid who hated sweating and feeing out of breath and avoided physical activity at all costs. I love challenging my levels on the elliptical, and I feel empowered by the circuit training. As much as I feel guilty for not dedicating the money toward my loans (in the fall, I’d promised myself I would get the damned things paid off in a year – sigh), I’m worth this. All of it.

After all, we only get one chance at life, at least that we remember.

Book Review: Through the Door (The Thin Veil #1) by Jodi McIsaac

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading this wonderful book. I was delighted that it had a Canadian setting (personal bias!), and I enjoyed the prose and the imagery.

And then it got into the magic, the Tuatha de Dannan, and I was hooked into the adventure. Moreover, an adventure undertaken by a mother, a woman with responsibilities and purpose. Loved that. Plus, magic!

This novel is a gift. It’s truly remarkable, bringing readers on a slow burn up one side of a mountain and then over a rainbow. I loved the unexpected plot twists — some of which I saw coming, and was not disappointed, and others that came out of nowhere and were equally delightful — and wished there was more time given to get to know the cast of characters beyond the major players. I felt a lot of connection between this tale and the world of Lost Girl (Showcase), as well, and one of my favourite movies, Willow.

I’ll be adding the next books to my Kindle at the next opening in my credit card.